When it comes to the subject of attachements, the spirits diverge. This is an experience that we have again and again at PressFile presentations. For some, the e-mail attachment is a real anachronism, for others an absolute must. Not only when it comes to press pictures. The PDF and Word files must also be sent along, otherwise the press release is not complete. When you ask why, there is often no justification, except that you always do so. And that you want to continue to do so in the future. Or even: "That's what our editors want!"
The long breath of the paper
If you want to get to the root of this attitude, you have to go back a few years. At the beginning of the 2000s, it was still quite common to send press releases on paper and by post. However, because it was expensive and expensive to produce and deliver photo prints of the press pictures, the image material was copied into the press release, so that the colleagues in the editorial offices could choose and request the motif. After all, the image material was then usually already sent electronically, even if the files were huge for the time.
In the second half of the 2000s, the sending of press releases by e-mail quickly became more and more apparent. No wonder: it was easier and faster. And the editors also increasingly appreciated the possibility of taking over the content directly via "drag&drop" and being able to process it further. However, most PR professionals continued to work with Word documents based on paper form. Not only in terms of layout, but also the image thumbnails remained incorporated, which often inflated the Word files unnecessarily. The new digital freedom also led to images being attached in printable resolution – not just one, but often two or three. And because you had already heard that Word files did not reach one or the other addressee, a PDF was attached for security reasons – despite the fact that many editors could not or did not want to handle PDFs at all. The way of transmission had changed, but the thinking had not.
The value of an attachment
Why was it even necessary to send pictures and texts as electronic tags? One argument was that the Word document should be constructed in the right corporate design. The logo had to appear in the right place in the right colors, and of course it was also very important that the text was written in the house script. And the pictures were sent along, so that they really arrived at the addressee. To offer them for download would have been a possibility even then. However, this was often brushed aside with the argument that veteran editors could not cope with a download. In the minds of the press workers, the digital age had dawned. Alone: They remained stuck in form. The shipment was digital, but the shipment had to look like it was paper.
The nonsense of the e-mail attachment
To this day, some PR professionals still worry more about the form than about the content. In doing so, they completely disregard the work process on the other side of the desk, in the editorial offices. Hundreds of mails arrive there every day. It is crucial to separate the usable from the unusable ones as quickly as possible, so that one can go to further processing. For this, it is absolutely sufficient if the content of the press info is copied as text directly into the mail. Because then everything is available at a glance, can be judged, deposited, copied and pasted. No reasonable thinking person opens a mail attachment and sees if the text is also nicely set. And certainly no editor wants to deal with a PDF that causes problems with umlauts or hyphens.
Why have an image as an email attachment when you can have many?
Only when it is established that the content is interesting for the editors does the question of imaging arise. Again, the e-mail attachment does not add any value. It is large and bulky, and it does not always correspond to what an editor imagined for the illustration. It is much more useful to offer a link to an online library. Here you can link not just one or two, but many images – much more than you could ever send with an e-mail attachment. The editorial staff thus gets a greater choice, the variety of motifs increases and thus also the "colour" in the external representation. If you go one step further to the online newsroom, you can link images, videos, graphics and textual content together, so that this newsroom becomes a source that an editor likes to visit without the reason for sending a press, simply, because the newsroom offers corresponding added value. A very nice example can be found at Daimler.
If you want, you can also offer the Word document for download – beautifully designed, with the house font and the logo in the right place. But let's face it: who will bother to download this document if they see all the content in front of them on the screen and can process it at the click of a mouse?